The language of Statistics

October 25, 2010

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

R is the lingua franca of Statistics: R code and R packages is the means by which statisticians communicate ideas and methods for statistical analysis. The reasons why are discussed in this article, but it also begs the question: what's wrong with the spoken or written word?

How Statistics and Probability relate to the English language is the subject of a great op-ed article in last week's New York Times, Stories vs Statistics. In particular, it talks about how some of the famous thought experiments and puzzles in statistics and probability (such as the Monty Hall problem, the Birthday paradox, and the Two Boys problem) are heavily dependent on language: the solution depends not only on how the problem is described, but on how the reader interprets the story around the puzzle. It's a great read: check out the link below.

New York Times: Stories vs Statistics

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